WHY Him? Owner and head chef of Gallery by Chele (formerly Gallery Vask, which featured twice in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants), Chele fuses local produce with international flavours to create surprising dishes in a chic, revamped space in Taguig, Manila. His menu includes taste bombs like tomato mochi with salmon and kesong puti (a soft cheese made from the milk of water buffalo), and brioche buns with shredded Chinese beef stew.
NEXT ON HIS PLATE Chele has a number of projects in the pipeline, one of which will see him take charge of F&B at a new luxury resort in Boracay.
Jordy Nava rra
WHY Him? A pioneer of Filipino fine dining, Jordy is the chef-owner of Toyo Eatery in Makati City. In his minimalist haven of wood and polished concrete, he offers sophisticated versions of hearty local classics such as Bangsilog—milk fish with sticky rice, free-range egg, chicharon and dried tuna roe. Toyo won Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants’ The One To Watch award this year, throwing a spotlight on contemporary Filipino cuisine and cementing Jordy as a rising star in Asia’s gastronomic landscape.
WHY HER? A blogger, media personality and food critic, Cheryl is a “tastehunter” for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants—the sole representative in the Philippines and one of only three in Asia. Cheryl wrote the first Wallpaper City Guide for Manila in 2014, is a presenter on Fox Life Asia’s TV show Taste Travels, and founded her own events platform, Cross Cultures, which promotes exchanges between cultures through food to build a global community. This year, she has been focused on promoting Filipino cuisine overseas, organising collaborations and pop-up dining experiences that spotlight the nation’s gastronomy at restaurants in Miami, Boston and New York.
WHY HER? A celebrity chef, restaurateur and TV personality, Margarita always has a full plate. The dynamo operates a plethora of Italian eateries across the Philippines, including Cibo (a 10-branch chain of Italian cafes), Alta, Grace Park and Lusso. She recently launched two new ventures: Las Casas Manila by Margarita Forés, which serves classic Spanish cuisine from a revamped heritage mansion in Quezon City, and Islas Pinas, a funky new food hall that showcases Filipino food from around the country. She also hosted her own TV show with CN, Harvest with Margarita Forés.
WHY HER? As creative director and restaurateur at the Moment Group, Abba has brought to life some of Manila’s most successful home-grown dining concepts, such as Bank Bar, 8Cuts, Ooma, Mecha Uma and TMG Test Kitchen, while also introducing international brands like Din Tai Fung and Linguini Fini to the Philippines. Under her watch, the Moment Group recently took over the F&B arm of the members-only Manila Polo Club, revamping its menu to include favourites from the group’s portfolio of restaurants. Abba, a keen skier, hiker and diver, is now focusing on expanding the company’s booming catering business.